March is a new wave of mobile phones. Various mobile phone manufacturers have successively released their own flagship phones. At the moment of 2021, after experiencing many flagship and even gaming phones, I also found some interesting phenomena.
Most mobile phone manufacturers will configure horizontal linear motors by default, which has almost become the standard hardware of flagship mobile phones. Of course, there are marketing reasons, but it is worth noting that mobile phone manufacturers are paying more and more attention to the vibration touch experience of mobile phones. .
But I have also found that although many mobile phone manufacturers have achieved a vibration touch experience comparable to that of the iPhone, some of them have mediocre performance. Why is there a gap in the experience of the same horizontal linear motor?
The idea of constantly making the vibration motor bigger, ignoring the software problem
In smartphones, the first thing that pays attention to vibration experience is Apple. Starting from iPhone 6S, Apple has added a horizontal linear motor Taptic Engine to the phone, and it has even increased again during the iPhone X period. This is for the inner space of the mobile phone with an inch of gold. It is not easy.
Corresponding touch technology has also been used in many products including MacBook Pro.
This idea of using better hardware has also been studied by various mobile phone manufacturers. They have abandoned ordinary rotor motors and chose horizontal linear motors. The rotor motors are relatively small and space-saving, but the actual vibration experience is relatively weak. The vibration level adjustment is also almost non-adjustable.
This idea has achieved a new extreme on gaming phones. The Lenovo Savior Pro released last year used a dual X-axis linear motor design. There is a linear motor on the upper and lower sides of the fuselage, which can not only control the vibration frequency and vibration Volume adjustment can also simulate hundreds of tactile feedback effects.
The iQOO 7 released this year is also equipped with two linear motors. For a better touch experience, a pressure-sensitive screen is added. After entering the game, you can feel the vibration by pressing the screen, just like actually pressing the screen. same.
My friend said after the experience, it smelled like 3D Touch. 3D Touch was originally called a "game cheater" for this reason.
In specific game scenes, it can even achieve another level of "listening to position". For example, when playing an FPS shooting game, if there is a car passing by, you can feel the vibration direction from right to left, so you can play mobile games. The experience has been lifted to a new level.
It can be said that gaming phones have achieved the industry's lead in terms of vibration experience, and the operating experience in gaming scenarios has even surpassed that of the iPhone.
But hardware stacking is actually a trade-off. We mentioned earlier that although the horizontal linear motor can maintain a better vibration experience, it also takes up a lot of mobile phone space, let alone two linear motors, which causes a lot of The thickness and weight of gaming phones are relatively high.
It is obviously an unacceptable choice for flagship phones that emphasize lightness and an increasingly important image experience.
Even if the horizontal linear motor is used in the same way as the iPhone, due to the first-mover advantage of time, Apple’s tuning of the vibration motor has reached a more complete stage earlier, and the App Store’s software ecosystem has more software that supports the corresponding vibration. Apple The software interface was given early, allowing application developers to use this feature creatively.
In contrast, the Android ecosystem is somewhat dwarfed, basically relying on mainstream mobile phone manufacturers to use better vibration motors. The hardware used by each company is different, and the software interface tends to be fragmented, which is not conducive to developers’ understanding of the entire Android ecosystem. adaptation.
The lack of software environment eventually led to the fact that the hardware is almost the same, but the vibration experience of the Android ecosystem is different, and the application scenarios are not as many as iOS.
Google and Qualcomm are becoming another level of soft and hard synergy
Mainstream mobile phone manufacturers pay attention to the fact that horizontal linear motors have become the flagship standard. Although some manufacturers have previously used motors as a major selling point for marketing reasons, it is more that vibration motors improve the experience.
Since the emergence of smart phones, touch interaction has become the mainstream. Clicking and sliding have become common operations for people. The screen can display more possibilities for text, pictures, and videos, but the characteristics of the screen make it only limited.于dimensional.
The emergence of ultra-large horizontal linear vibration motors has added a new dimension to mobile phone interaction, from XY two-dimensional interaction to XYZ three-dimensional interaction. For example, when using a browser, a long press can bring up a convenient menu. In the past, there was only one page animation for two-dimensional interaction. Nowadays, vibration is added at the same time, which is more obvious and easier to use.
The importance of vibration in scenes such as games is self-evident. Intuitive tactile feedback is obviously more direct than simple animation feedback.
Of course, there are also reasons why flat design has become the mainstream. Although it consumes less resources (no need to show fine texture effects), it has strong scalability and can adapt to devices of various screen sizes. However, the abstract flat content often makes people confused between the content and the button. Vibration is a good supplement at this time.
▲ Starting from iOS 7, Apple switched to a flat design on the iPhone
The attention of mainstream manufacturers, the change of interaction methods, and the significant improvement of the mobile operating experience. Logically speaking, Google, as the controller of Android, should organize the status quo and provide unified solutions to avoid experience gaps or fragmentation .
Previously, the gesture changes in Android 10 were foresight. At that time, Google stated that the development of gesture interaction was influenced by Android mobile phone manufacturers, and its development of corresponding gesture operation functions also hopes to unify the operating experience. After all, the interaction logic of each manufacturer is different. Developers will be affected. One piece of software needs to be adapted to mobile phones from multiple manufacturers, and there are similar situations in vibration interaction now.
▲ Picture from: Digital Trends
Interestingly, the company that wants to solve this problem is Qualcomm.
Prior to this, Qualcomm announced that it would cooperate with Lofelt, a company specializing in touch interaction in the industry, to establish a better software framework, and each Android phone manufacturer can access the corresponding software interface to create a better vibration interaction experience and reduce the overall The gap between Android ecosystem and iOS in terms of touch experience.
Of course, the basic condition for accessing the software framework is the use of Qualcomm Snapdragon chips.
This is not the first time Qualcomm has tried to integrate the Android ecological experience. In order to solve the problems of Android system upgrade difficulty, slow upgrade speed, and low coverage rate, Google reached a cooperation agreement with Qualcomm to jointly undertake part of the upgrade and adaptation work, so that it can be equipped with Mobile phones with Qualcomm chips can support 4 years of Android system updates and security updates, and increase the update speed.
▲ Picture from: mysmartprice
Because Google has open sourced the Android system, mobile phone manufacturers are working on their own in order to strengthen the competitiveness of their own products. There are many fragmentation problems in the overall experience of the Android ecosystem, which has led to a gap between Android and the iOS camp in terms of system updates.
The cooperation between Google and Qualcomm is just like a new form of software-hardware collaboration that solves the fragmentation problem and unifies part of the Android ecosystem experience.
Will Google and Qualcomm become the next "wintel alliance"?
Speaking of this, friends who are familiar with the history of the Internet may think of the "wintel alliance" in the PC era. Microsoft and Intel have formed a kind of software and hardware synergy in the PC market. They have very strong control over the entire PC ecosystem and have even been accused of monopolizing the market. .
Microsoft relies on Windows to control the development of the computer software ecosystem, while Intel relies on the special attributes of the processor to exert influence on the entire PC ecosystem. From the previous Ultrabook concept to the current Evo certification, Intel's solutions are widely used Into the PC ecosystem.
Of course, there is also a good side. The Evo certification system does improve the experience of laptops through new standards, such as battery life, WiFi 6 support, etc., but the other side is worrying whether it will be caused by too strong control. Lack of competition, products have stopped, and people's complaints about Intel's toothpaste squeeze from this.
So, will Google and Qualcomm become the "Wintel Alliance" of Android?
The answer is obviously no. Although Google and Qualcomm have cooperated or provided solutions to improve the Android experience, in fact, they do not have very strong control over Android.
Let’s talk about Google first. The open source system has led mobile phone manufacturers to fight each other, especially domestic mobile phone manufacturers, who have basically launched their own customized Android operating systems, such as MIUI, Color OS, etc., which are domestically produced in terms of system functions and account systems. Mobile phone manufacturers are even stronger than Google, the creator of Android.
Qualcomm also has a similar situation. As a supplier of mobile phone core chips, it also provides a large number of solutions, but mobile phone manufacturers do not accept them one by one.
For example, the fast charging technology Quick Charge launched by Qualcomm, mobile phone manufacturers are not very buying, most of them are developing their own fast charging technology, which also caused the Android ecosystem to have a variety of fast charging agreements, consumers need to buy before Understand the corresponding information, from the charging line to the charging head is completely matched to achieve high-power fast charging.
▲ All kinds of fast charging. Picture from: CNET
In the foreseeable future, in order to increase the competitiveness of their own products, mobile phone manufacturers will obviously continue to add a variety of technologies, which will further deepen the fragmentation of the Android experience, the popularity of good functions, good technologies, and the suitability of developers. Matching will be more difficult.
And the cooperation between Google and Qualcomm is more meaningful to group together to increase the control of the Android ecosystem through software and hardware coordination. It can also be found from user feedback that public opinion is still positive for the cooperation between the two. The previous cooperation to improve the system update cycle time is an example.
This is not necessarily a bad thing for Android users. At least the cooperation between the two parties can make good features such as vibration experience and system updates popularize in more mobile phones.
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